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    Deir ez-Zor, Syria

    'Fate of My Children is Unknown': Horrors From the Siege of Syrian Deir ez-Zor

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    The operation to fully liberate Deir ez-Zor is still underway with the Syrian army fighting Daesh terrorists in the southern part of the city. However, the horrors of the siege will last in civilian memory for a long time to come as many residents including Syrian woman Umm Mustafa lost almost everything during this gruesome war.

    Umm Mustafa, an 80-year-old resident of Deir ez-Zor in an interview with Sputnik Arabic said that Daesh terrorists unsuccessfully tried to induce innocent people to fight on their side. 

    As a result of that, many people including Mustafa lost her sons, as they refused to comply with Daesh’s orders. 

    During the blockade of Deir ez-Zor, her family lived in an area occupied by the militants.

    “Terrorists who were in charge of the district, issued an order, to call men into their ranks. They did not pay attention to either their age or that it could be the only son in the family,” Mustafa told Sputnik.

    She further said that the terrorists used Islamic Sharia law as an excuse to put everyone under the gun, indiscriminately.

    “I have three sons. We found a person who was involved in smuggling, including extracting people from Daesh-controlled areas, for a lot of money. He started the process to take my sons out of the city, and since then I do not know much about their fate. Neighbors said that they died in the desert during the bombings by the international coalition,” Mustafa said.

    Many men were the sole breadwinners in their households. They did not want to join Daesh and die for them, but they could not stay with their children and elderly parents. 

    According to Mustafa this was a real tragedy and people who got out of the city on their own did not even realize the scale of the blockade and the extent of the risks involved.

    “Many of those who sought to leave this hell were killed on the road,” Mustafa said. “Perhaps they consciously chose death over joining the ranks of terrorists,” she added.

    Mustafa continued by saying  that what Daesh preaches is false Islam; it has nothing in common with the real one. 

    “People have suffered a lot but at the same time they are being steadfast. They believe in the truth, which will triumph over lies and violence,” Mustafa said.

    She added that the most vulnerable people during wartime are civilians because they seem to be in between a “hammer and an anvil.”

    Talking about the future of Syria and the fight with the terrorists, Mustafa said that she worries for the cities across the country.

    “I'm afraid that the eastern cities of the country may turn into ghost towns. They will have a handful of old men, women and children; this may be the price of this war. Although chaos recedes from Deir ez-Zor, there remains confusion: it is not clear who managed to escape, who stayed, and who died,” Mustafa said.

    She added that the fate of many children, including her sons, remains unknown.

    “Mine and other mother’s tears do not dry out, but still there is a glimmer of hope,” she said.

    Last week marked the lifting of the three-year Daesh siege of the city of Deir ez-Zor and the liberation of a local airfield, which had kept more than 1,000 Syrian troops locked in since January. However, the fighting to fully liberate the area is still underway.

    The successful Deir ez-Zor operation was the biggest breakthrough against Daesh since the terrorist group first launched an offensive in the province. The terrorists had been blockading Deir ez-Zor since 2014, with food and other supplies only being airlifted into the city. The group also took control over a large swath of the province of Deir ez-Zor and cut off roads to government-held districts.

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    Tags:
    terrorists, children, siege, interview, liberation, civilians, Daesh, Syria, Deir ez-Zor
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